Monday, December 26, 2011

A ritual spice

Last night, I rang in Christmas with friends the way only Jews  can--by saying Havdallah and lighting the Hanukkah candles.

As we got to the part of the Havdallah where we smell the besamim, or spices, I absentmindedly sniffed the spices my friend put under my nose and took a whiff of something very familiar--marijuana.

Legends and rabbis have it that on the Sabbath, we are blessed with an additional "neshama" or soul that departs when Shabbos ends. This is why we sniff some spices during the Havdallah ceremony, which closes out the day of rest--to revive or restore the person after his additional soul leaves. Besamim are like smelling salts.

Which brings me to weed. It was quite fitting to smell the marijuana as the Sabbath Queen departed. What else lifts the spirits quite like weed?

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